Blessed to be a blessing to others
Dear Immanuel and St. Paul Church Families,
2020...it is the year in which we live. Covid-19 has become part of our vocabulary, school has become home schooling. Worship services have become electronic or delivered hard copies in the mail. Business has come to a screeching halt. There aren't any basketball, baseball or soccer games. The Lenawee County Fair has been cancelled for the year. The list could go on and on.
Immanuel's 150th anniversary celebration scheduled for August 30th has also been postponed. I bring this up because August 30th was also the planned retirement date for me. It seemed like a fitting time. I've struggled mightily about what to do. I have no idea when face to face Sunday worship will resume. When it does resume it will occur with healthy guidelines in place. Regardless of your thoughts regarding the pandemic, my hunch is that many will be hesitant to return to worship for quite some time. I am certainly nothing special, but if I retire August 30th, my fear is that some of our vulnerable folks might come to worship who should remain home. Yet, they might feel compelled to come because we've shared a lot of life together. I would feel horrible if someone became deathly ill just because they came to church to say farewell.
Therefore, my effective retirement date is June 15, 2020. This will be before any anticipated face to face worship. When either effective treatments or a vaccine for the virus are in place, I've been assured by the Church councils and Southeast Michigan Synod staff that I can return to both churches for a "farewell Sunday."
2020....it's not only the year in which we life. It's the term for perfect hindsight vision. In hindsight, this decision might be fraught with mistakes. All I can say is that I haven't arrived at it quickly. A lot of prayer, thought and internal wrestling have led me to it. What I am certain is that God will always be a constant presence with us and will provide what is needed. I am also certain that each of you are blessed to be blessings to others.
I give thanks to God for the ministry we've shared.
Pastor Gary Leking
IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
1500 B. Blissfield Hwy.,
Palmyra, Michigan 49268
May 26, 2020
Dear Immanuel Family and Friends,
For almost forty years we have had the privilege and joy of Pastor Gary Leking and family walking with us here at Immanuel on our ministry and faith journey. In this our 150th anniversary year, God is calling us in new directions of ministry. Not only have we had to uncover new ways of doing ministry during this COVID-19 pandemic and new ways of connecting with our congregation and our community, we are also being called to walk a new path of leadership on our journey.
Although we rejoice with Pastor Leking as he transitions to new adventures in retirement, we are saddened to see him leave our Immanuel family. We wish nothing but the best for him and his family in their new journey.
Immanuel’s lay leadership, your Church Council, has been working with the Southeast Michigan Synod in continuing pastoral leadership during this time of transition and in beginning the call process. Pastor Leking’s last on-line sermon will be June 14, 2020. While a supply Pastor is being scheduled for the interim, Pastors Denise Russell, Ben Austin, and Jeff Goggins have offered to provide an on-line, Facebook sermon for the following three Sundays. We thank them for helping us during this transition.
Your Church Council is committed to keeping you informed of all developments as together we walk in a new direction to which God is calling us. We affirm we are called to be a blessing to others and that we are equipped for ministry through the working of the Spirit. We ask God to give us courage as we embark on new ventures.
Should you have any concerns or need the assistance of a pastor after June 15, please call any church council member and we will assist you or direct you to the proper authority. The council names and phone numbers are listed at the end of this letter for your convenience.
Help us, Lord, to remember the words of a hymn:
Great is your faithfulness!
Great is your faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed your hand has provided;
Great is your faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
Yours in Christ,
Church Council of the Congregation
Blessed to be a blessing
Immanuel Lutheran Church Council Members’ Contacts
Pat Keinath 517-447-3096
Carol Fenner 517-673-8084
Butch Miller 517-403-1227
LouAnn Brazee 517-260-3239
Lisa Hand 517-304-0566
Wayne Piotter 517-673-2816
Charlene Dickerson 517-605-7925
Deb Marks 517-206-7443
Mike Schmidt 517-206-3907
Worship Services and Events have been suspended due to the COVID-19 virus.
A Letter from Bishop Kreiss
The Mbulu Diocese, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land The Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America May 23, 2020 Dear Friends of Southeast Michigan, Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! By now I expect many of you will have seen or read the President’s statement naming faith communities “essential” and calling congregations to re-open—that is, to resume in-person worship in the kind of building we call “church.” Though I am grateful for the President’s recognition that we are an essential part of a healthy community, I want to offer 2 truths: 1. The church cannot “re-open” because we never closed. Of course, worship looks different. Our means of gathering has changed. We have made adaptations, adjustments, and adopted new technology. But we never closed. 2. Here in Southeast Michigan we are still actively fighting to stop the spread of COVID-19. Because vulnerable members in every congregation rely on our efforts and our commitment to keep each other safe, speaking as your bishop I cannot support a return at this time. As a part of our Christian duty to care for the ones Jesus called “the least of these,” I urge pastors and leaders to keep working on the protocols laid out in our *Church Safe Start document preparing for the day when it is safe and responsible for us to return. Listen to state health officials and please heed the advice of our medical and healthcare professionals as their knowledge is a gift to the rest of us. It is my hope that during this pandemic we have learned or remembered that the “church” is not and never was a building. The church is the people; you and me, dear ones, and the ministry and witness we offer our communities and the world, proclaiming the astonishing good news about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. That ministry and witness was never about a place, but about the work of those who have been named and claimed and washed and fed and then sent out into the world to serve and love our neighbors. In the meantime, know that your congregation’s ministry goes forward through your prayers, your care for your neighbors, your financial support, and your safe gathering. Listen for God’s word spoken in new ways; take time to re-visit scripture, remember the poor; stay connected to the Body of Christ that is the Church in the world. May God bless us all in these extraordinary times. Grace and peace, Bishop Don Kreiss
In an effort to keep all our church members informed, we are posting emails and Facebook notices. However, not everyone is connected to the internet. Information packets will be mailed to those members of our congregation so they can stay connected and aware of what is happening with our Immanuel family. If you know of anyone who needs these packets, please notify the church office or Pat Keinath, 447-3096. The first of these packets were mailed near the end of March. Please check with your family member of friend to see if they got a packet. We don't want to miss anyone. Also should you know of anyone or if you need delivery of food items contact Pat Keinath at: 517 447-3096.
Even though the church building is not being used at this time, don't forget to send your offering envelops in. We, the people, are the church, but the building still needs to be maintained.
Blessed to be a blessing,
Immanuel Lutheran Church Council
Just Breathe. It truly is that simple. I often tell clients that no matter what life throws at them they truly only have one requirement to get through it, and that is to breathe. Now try convincing someone who has a family member with the virus and the uncertainty of their fate to just breathe, or someone who lives alone and hasn’t left their home in 10 days to just breathe, or someone still working around the infected risking themselves to just breathe, or someone who is now unemployed without any saving to fall back on to just breathe, or the parent trying to work from home and occupy and comfort their children to just breathe, and lastly someone who knows they have been exposed and are terrified that this virus could potentially take away their ability to breathe, just breathe………I have been a counselor for 10 years and I have never navigated in such uncharted waters.
I want to address some of the things I am concerned about as a clinician during this Pandemic. And offer a few ways to cope.
Please pay attention to your mental and emotional health as well as your physical! It is a natural human condition to experience depression and anxiety when we are not in control. Pay attention to your emotions and mental state. It is normal for them to fluctuate in these uncertain times but we have control over how we respond! Even if you feel you do not have control over anything, you do have control of yourself. Do not react to your emotional state rather pause and respond rationally.
Check your Emotions: Are you responding to current situations? Or are you responding out of stress or fear of what is going on in the world? Just this, Just now.
Anxiety is state of inner turmoil. An uneasy feeling of uncertainty, worry, dread or agony. It is often accompanied by nervous feelings or behaviors. Anxiety is a future oriented state of being where the focus is on the unknown.
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activities. Often accompanied with lack of interest, loss of hope, sadness, loneliness(even around others), isolation, and avoidance of otherwise enjoyed activities. In extreme cases thoughts of self- harm or suicide may exist.
Watch your body for cues you are experiencing anxiety or depression: Rapid heart rate, over heating or sweating, lack of focus, forgetfulness, nausea, change in appetite, headaches, muscle tension, restlessness, fatigue, insomnia or excessive sleeping, irritability and uncontrollable crying. These are all physical symptoms of Anxiety or Depression which are very common during times like this. When you notice these symptoms stop, acknowledge it, pray about it and then do something to care for yourself.
So What can you do?
Self Care: Pray! STAY CONNECTED WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS (still following the CDC recommendations of course) We are each other’s greatest resource at a time like this. Pray! Exercise if possible, Stay active. Even if its walking in place in your living room, in your own yard or street. Eat well. Avoid caffeine if you are anxious. Everyone can benefit from drinking more water! Pray! Be aware of the material you read and shows you watch, it can impact anxiety and depression greatly. Deep Breathe: Slow deep inhales through your nose and slowly blowing out through pursed lips. Relax your tongue. Often when we are stressed we clench our teeth and jaws. Pay attention is your tongue pressed behind your teeth or on the roof of your mouth? Relax it and try to focus on keeping your tongue resting it will decrease facial tension immediately.
Please watch your use of alcohol and other substances. During this stressful time it is common for people to escape or cope with substances. Please be careful. As this is the most unhealthy way to get through these times. Although it may offer relief for a few minutes or hours, the long term effects may not be worth the brief benefit you believe you are getting.
Lastly PLEASE limit your exposure to News and Social Media! I find the clients that are struggling the most right now are the causing some of their problems by overconsuming information. Yes knowledge is power and it would be negligent not to stay informed. I recommend NO MORE than 1 hour of COVID-19 related information a day. Ideally 10 minutes, 3x’s a day. Morning, afternoon and evening if you must. WE BECOME WHAT WE CONSUME.
Remember this is a time for us to show who we are as individuals and a community. Take care of Others and yourselves. We are all in this together. If you need to talk to a professional Help is available! All mental health professionals are offering help Via Video or phone during this pandemic. Do not hesitate to reach out, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! www.chtistiancareconnection.com (517) 486-4005
Gathering Area at Immanuel
On Monday afternoon for an hour to an hour and a half, people gather to pray, read liturgy, discuss books, share religious viewpoints, and e...
Gathering Area at Immanuel
All are welcome to attend worship at Immanuel.
Worship with hymns, liturgy, communion, and blessings take place at 10:00 AM with coffee hou...
11:30 am - 12:30 pm Immanuel Nave
All are welcome to attend worship at Immanuel. Through songs lead by the Praise Band, prayers, liturgy, communion all taking place in a rel...
11:30 am - 12:30 pm Immanuel Nave